UNTIL THE NEXT TIME
Printed in the Southern League Midlands Division league match v
Stourport Swifts Saturday 24th October 2009. We won 3-2 in front 244
people and are six in the league.
Isn’t it slightly odd that just as the FA Cup comes into peoples
radars, the majority of teams who have competed in the competition are
already out. By the 1st round proper there has already been six rounds
and 75 per cent of the clubs knocked out.
As for Slough after five games spanning three months it was our turn
to bid farewell, with the final still eight months away! Still, I
don’t know about you, but our FA Cup run put a smile back on my face
after seasons of pulling my hair out.
I know most big clubs don’t care about the FA Cup anymore, but for us
lower league lifeforms scutterling along at the bottom of the pile
looking for crumbs of glory and some extra cash, it’s really something
to savor. From Tring to Tooting it’s been a good fun and there really
is something special about the cup that draws in bigger crowds and
gets the adrenalin pumping. A last gasp equalizer against Hemel then
our second half backs against the wall in the replay, followed by a
stroll against Concord Rangers only really livened up by their manager
who seriously needs some anger management lessons.
Then that game at Tooting on a sunny October day where we could start
dreaming that we were just two wins away from a possible game Leeds
United or Charlton.
Being in London I managed to drag quite a few mates along, some of us
sampling the excellent Croydon tram system that really should be
rolled out across the country.
Tooting’s ground is impressive, although I wonder if it was designed
by someone who lives in Southern Italy. It’s high stands and no back
cover for the stands behind the goal doesn’t seem to offer much
resistance to the English winter. With only one turnstile open and a
impressive Slough turn-out, the crowd snaked into the car park, and as
it turned out Tooting’s biggest ever FA Cup attendance at their new
ground. Helped of course by no Premiership games and the England game
live exclusively on your computer screen (and we won’t mention a
certain person who went to the old ground, now a housing estate,
despite the fact that he has already been to the new ground before!).
In the end my mates said it was a great game, the eight year old we
dragged along saying it was the best he had ever seen as Slough
recovered from being 3-0 down to battering the Tooting goal looking
for an equalizer. A victory would have got us Conference sea-siders
Eastborne Borough at home, but we have to wait till next August before
the journey starts again.
I’m finding it hard to muster the old vocal chords at some league
games, and our trips to Hemel Hempstead and Tooting and Mitcham’s
grounds reminded me, if I needed reminding, how I want to support
Slough at the next level up. But we know we have a long way to go if
we are to realize that dream. That FA Cup money will help, and some of
our old supporters will have hopefully once again found a taste for
the club, as we push for promotion this season. I also, maybe rather
selfishly have had enough of the far flung corners of the Southern
League, and want us back where we belong – in the Ryman League.